Keeping up with the immense number of talented people participating in Blaugust this year continues to be fun. Though it may seem like a chore for many, I absolutely love the feeling of opening a brand new post which may or may not surprise me. It’s almost like opening a pack of Magic cards. I also get a tiny shock of glee every time I get to press ‘like’ or ‘recommend’; it is practically Pavlovian.
Last week, I focused less on Blaugust posts, but this week that changes. I did a much better job this time around of notating noteworthy posts, as I read them. This week’s Blogger Bonanza should be a far more eclectic mix of posts, as well as more representative, generally-speaking, of this year’s participants and other bloggers.
MMOs are Beautiful
After the Screenshot Safari for the NBI this year, I’ve gained a new-found appreciation for all things screenshots. A few bloggers took the time to post some of their favorites recently.
Starshadow has posted some really spectacular coastal shots from various MMORPGs and RPGs.
Less about the screenshot itself, Moonshine Mansion shares excitement over getting the perfect dye in WildStar.
Sparks in the Horizon took us all back to the glory days of Karazhan, WoW’s greatest dungeon*, with a series of lovely shots.
We are Legion, but Not Really
World of Warcraft: Legion continues to spread across the blogosphere like a wildfire. Some bloggers fight the fire, some embrace it, but for an expansion so tied to unifying disparate groups with shared causes, bloggers across the spectrum continue to be divided. Will they play Legion? Will they skip it? What sort of legacy has World of Warcraft secured for itself?
The always amazing podcast, Cat Context, discussed Legion this week. Their point-of-views are all worth the listen, including the notion that Warlords of Draenor’s garrisons of “something of a failed experiment.” Also, they discuss some sort of tween fad, which, when you say ‘tween fad’ out loud, my first thought is immediately ‘Star Wars character name’.
Ald Shot First apologizes for being a bit late on the Legion talk, but being excited over Blood Knights getting a scythe-like axe makes up for it.
While Rambling Thoughts About WoW isn’t talking about anything Legion-specific with his post on guilds (in fact, it’s a post that can apply to virtually any MMORPG), I think it’s worthwhile to view it in the sense of WoW’s legacy going forward. For the past decade, World of Warcraft has been the place for powergamers looking to raid, but the game has also done a solid job of maintaining large communities of people who just want to have fun and be social. While I am certain Legion will have its fair share of raiding and we will all tune in for world firsts again, is it time for the broader World of Warcraft populace to move on and chase down making new friends rather than progression goals? Has that already been the case? Questions for a more experienced (and current) WoW fan, I think.
Nerdy Bookahs talks about WoW as an ‘evergreen game’, or game that you continuously comeback too. Only there is uncertainty of how long to stay in Azeroth when the time comes to return. For me, revisiting an old MMO that you loved is like going home to where you grew up: okay for a few days of nostalgia and reminiscence., but then you remember why you left.
Fantasies Never Ending in FFXIV
There were several notable posts about Final Fantasy XIV this week. As someone who finally purchased Heavensward and rebooted my character from a Lallafell into a Roegadyn, I have to say the game is still incredibly compelling as a number one choice for MMORPG to play.
I play a White Mage and, although I haven’t gotten there yet, I know exactly where the humor in Evabee’s guide is coming from. Sometimes you need a thick skin to heal dungeons. In her guide about one Heavensward first big dungeons, you’ll learn everything you need to know and smile while learning it.
Hello Kitsune has managed to make the stress of buying a home in real life apply equally to the stress of purchasing one in Final Fantasy XIV. I am glad I don’t have to make those decisions for my Free Company.
Psyche Plays managed to get some PvP done in FFXIV and didn’t hate it. I enjoyed Battlegrounds a lot in World of Warcraft, but I’ve stopped bothering almost entirely with similar features in other MMOs. She has my reconsidering that stance when it comes to FFXIV’s PvP.
Pizza Maids reflects on her falling in love with FFXIV and one of its other players. It’s also nice to hear a long-term FFXIV fan who played and has nice things to about anything before A Realm Reborn.
Other MMO Fun
Through Wolfy’s Eyes makes a noble call to MMO developers everywhere to add more beer. As someone who always enjoyed visiting taverns in Ultima Online, or getting so drunk in EverQuest that the harbor pier was a more difficult thing to navigate than Kithicor at night, I have to agree.
Nerdy Bookahs takes us inside Guild Wars 2’s new Reaper class, complete with some pretty screenshots and great commentary.
And because saying ditto once isn’t ironic enough, let’s do it again with another Nerdy Bookahs post, this time on WildStar’s F2P conversion.
Gaming is Hobby Supreme
I am not ready to concede that gaming is a lifestyle choice, but it is most definitely a serious hobby for many (myself included, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing any of this). Whether Blaugust specific or not, a few posts in this last week brought up some very interesting points about video games in general that I think are worth further reflection and many more clicks.
Braxwolf by way of Gamers Decrypted asks: Are Exploits Cheating? Ultimately, I have to agree that they are, but effectively punishing them in MMOs is a hard sell. The first time I ever felt exploited because of gaming, it was because I was selling a Pokemon card in an America Online chatroom. The guy promised to send me a dollar if I sent him the card first. He didn’t. That was clearly on me, as there are no guarantees when dealing with people over the internet, and it was an easy ‘exploit’ for him, because there wasn’t really an infrastructure in place at the time for these sorts of sells (no eBay or PayPal, as far as my tween brain knew). Should he have been punished? No, I don’t think so.
In addition, though it never happened to me, I remember in Ultima Online people would rename books ‘pack of cigarettes’ and sell them as an extreme rare. It is more convincing than it sounds – the sprites could pass as cigarettes – but that is another situation where it is ‘on the buyer’ to do the research.
As for other, bigger exploits? Reverse the gain, if you can, but I am not sure players deserve permanent or long-term bans for it. I encourage you all to head over to Gamers Decrypted and give your two cents.
Speaking of two cents, Link Saves Zelda has an excellent post on mainstream feminism that I feel is an important read for anyone seriously considering or reconsidering their position within video game culture. Too little criticism, and we have a state of affairs like we did in the 1990s where games were created and marketed solely to teenage boys. Too much criticism, and then nothing is good enough for anyone, even if it is a positive step or a quality addition to our culture in its own right. This post is definitely worth the read.
Knifesedge decided to take a day of Blaugust to talk about organizing his Steam library. Given the number of F2P MMOs available on Steam these days, it probably would be a good idea to separate them into categories. Check out the post for some tips on how he categorizes games, and chime in with your own suggestions.
Contains Moderate Peril took a break from reviewing movies and other game chatter to talk about how few games we really complete. Considering how many games these days are nearly impossible to 100%, at least in a reasonable time, I have to think there is a better metric than completion for most games. Share your opinions on CMP: do you try to 100% your games? How complete is ‘complete’ anyway?
LFGryph adds to the Blaugust conversation a post on the power of fan theories in games. Considering how many hours I spent on forums trying to unravel secrets in the original Fable that just weren’t there, I am inclined to believe fan theories are a powerful component for a game’s most dedicated fanbase.
Finally, in a post that many of my gaming friends (especially my old raiding buddies) may disagree with, Game Introspection talks about embracing easy modes.
Related: Blaugust, Blog, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, World of Warcraft